These days, well for the last 40 years or so there has been a fascination with more and more gears on bicycles, even on the entry level bikes that you might buy at one of the big box stores.
It started with 5 speeds, then with 10, then 15 and even 21 speeds are not entirely out of the question. And much like any new and fascinating technology, there comes a time when we have gotten to the point where it seems that we are chasing cool just for the sake of cool.
The fact is that almost no one has a use for 21 speeds on a bike. Perhaps professional cyclists might have a need for controlling the speed and effort of their workouts on that granular a level, but no average human being does.
Most people don’t even use 5 speeds effectively,perhaps 3 is more common. One for hills one for flats at speed and one for cruising. Simply put, there is no advantage to having all the complexity and susceptibility to failure that having that excess number of gears entails.
In many cases, a viable option for simplicity, durability and pure useability, a quality single gear bike bike might be the best choice for you.
There is a reason why one speed bicycles are a choice for many commuters these days. The trade offs involved in riding along city streets on a daily basis lean heavily towards durability. And when it comes to durability, the simplicity of a single gear makes a bunch of sense. There are no complicated derailleur mechanisms to get out of adjustment, no cables to snap or bind at the worst possible moment, no levers to break.
For many, even the level of complication involved in being able to coast is too much. For those people the fixie bike is the mode of transport of choice. In the fixie bike there is a direct link between the pedals and the rear wheel. When the wheel is turning, so are the pedals.
This might not be the best choice when it comes to commuting since the possibility of something happening that could throw your your feet of the pedals is entirely too real. If you remember the days with your first bike you can remember how difficult it can be to control a bike when you are simultaneously trying to get your feet back on the pedals. To say nothing of the fact that when your feet aren’t on the pedals, stopping is impossible.
Make sure that you have the level of expertise that would allow you to control a bike in this situation before you make the choice to buy a fixie bike. Being a danger to yourself and random strangers every day is not something that the average person would choose.